48-hour token strike gets underway
By Rathindra Kuruwita
The issues faced by health professionals will not be solved by granting chancellor posts to vocal trade union leaders, College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh told The Island yesterday.
Kumudesh said that the ego of ministers and the incompetence of officials had led to a number of strikes and demonstrations that inconvenienced the people.
Speaking about the 48-hour token strike, which was launched yesterday at 7.00 am, by 15 health sector non-medical trade unions over irregularities in promotions, salary anomalies and several other issues in their services, Kumudesh said that the President had been misled by a few trade unions.
“All health sector decisions are made after consulting a few people in one trade union and these decisions have angered everyone else. People are blaming the President. This token strike could have been easily avoided if the health authorities had been flexible enough to listen to us,” he said.
Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa had told Parliament that the President had instructed him to solve the issues faced by health sector professionals, Kumudesh said, adding that however, the Finance Minister had not taken any steps to solve those issues through the budget.
“The Secretary to the Ministry of Health apparently has no idea about the statement made by the Finance Minister in Parliament. The Secretary had not had a single meeting with the unions to resolve this crisis. Initially, we thought that he was not ready to meet us because he had a military mindset. But we were wrong, he is not meeting us because he can’t solve our issues,” he said.
Given that neither the politicians nor officials were ready to solve the issues faced by health professionals, the unions were compelled to act, Kumudesh said. “This token strike is aimed at remaining politicians and officials to let them know that the unions are ready to escalate if their demands are not met,” he said.
“We urge the President, the Prime Minister and Health Minister to step in and solve this issue. Don’t let it escalate and inconvenience the people. This is your responsibility. Over 50,000 have joined this token strike,” Kumudesh said.